Common tenure

Common Tenure is established by the Ecclesiastical Offices (Terms of Service) Measure 2009 which came into effect from 31 January 2011 (the ‘appointed day’).

The following were then transferred automatically onto Common Tenure:

  • All Team Vicars, Priests in Charge, Assistant Curates not in training posts, clergy on general licences, Residentiary Canons (on fixed term), clergy in LEPs, House for Duty clergy, Stipendiary Readers / Lay Workers, all Self-Supporting Ministers other than on PTO.

  • Clergy currently in post who were over 70 before the appointed day were required by the legislation to resign their posts, but could be issued with a new licence after the appointed day for a fixed or limited term under Regulation 29.

The following were invited onto Common Tenure:

  • Incumbents, Team Rectors (fixed term), Team Rectors (freehold), Archdeacons, Suffragan Bishops, Deans, Residentiary Canons (not on fixed term).

All new appointments made after 31 January 2011 are on Common Tenure.

Some clergy fall outside of the scope of the Common Tenure legislation, for example those who are subject to a contract of employment (diocesan employees or chaplains).

Some Associate Ministers whose stipend is paid by the parish may be held to be an employee of the parish. Those clergy who are held to be employees of the Diocesan Board of Finance or the parish may be on different terms from other clergy in the diocese (for example over sick leave, parental leave and sabbaticals).


Clergy who did not opt into Common Tenure will remain on freehold.

In the case of Team Rectors where the current appointment is for a limited term, it will come to an end when the term ends, unless the Team Rector opts to transfer to common tenure before the expiry of the term.

Appointments subject to pastoral reorganisation under Regulation 30 of the Ecclesiastical Offices (Terms of Service) Regulations 2009.

This is a new kind of appointment that could be made after the appointed day.

Where views of interested parties have been invited before submitting proposals to the diocesan bishop, then, as an alternative to suspending presentation and appointing a priest in charge, the post may be designated under Regulation 30 of the Ecclesiastical Offices (Terms of Service) Regulations 2009 as held subject to pastoral reorganisation and an incumbent may be appointed on a limited term basis.

A date should be fixed when the post would revert to full common tenure if a pastoral scheme had not taken effect (must not be longer than 5 years from the start date of the appointment).

More information on Common Tenure can be found at

Jennie Woolston

Ministry Administrator

T: 01353 652713

E: Email